How can we improve pupils learning experience through classroom design?
How can we improve pupils’ learning experience through classroom design?
Sales & Marketing Director of UK presentation & display product manufacturer Metroplan, Åsa Sutton, explains how improving classroom design can have a positive effect on a pupil’s learning.
In order to maximise the amount of learning a student achieves in the classroom, it’s essential to have a cleverly designed environment. Everything from the furniture and layout of a classroom, to the lighting and colours used within has a huge impact on a pupil’s learning. A recent study from Salford University found that a well-designed classroom can increase a student’s performance by as much as 25%. Classrooms that are specifically designed to aid learning can help to enhance concentration, inspire students and even improve behaviour.
It’s crucial to strike a good balance of colour in a classroom to ensure pupils can work in a creative environment, but also remain free from distraction. The Salford University study highlighted that large, brightly colour walls rated poorly, and could be considered as a distraction. White walls with few colour elements were also regarded as poor, providing little or no stimulation for the children, leading to a lack of concentration and restlessness.
This brings us to the conclusion that painting the majority of the walls in a light colour, and including one bright feature wall is the most effective scheme for learning. Teachers and room designers could also consider adding an element of bright colour to the flooring and furniture to increase stimulation.
Over the past few years, increasing natural light in a working environment has become essential and directly correlates with a person’s levels of productivity. Natural light increases a person’s mental and physical comfort, and can improve concentration levels while helping with sight.
According to a study by the University of Georgia, the lighting of a room plays a major role when the brain is trying to focus. It found that pupils working in brightly lit rooms achieved higher grades than pupils in dimly-lit rooms; proving that the amount of light in a classroom can affect a student’s leaning.
The same study also indicates that poor lighting can reduce how effectively the brain collects information and as the pattern of learning in poor lighting continues, the brain can become slower at absorbing new information.
Unfortunately, classrooms cannot always be lit by natural lighting, and so offering a good quantity and quality of artificial lighting is crucial.
Classroom furniture, such as bookcases, storage units, desks and chairs, can be used to define a space’s purpose and even to inform certain behaviours.
Accessible storage is an important part of learning and organisation in a classroom, but too many pieces of furniture can take up useful space. Utilising corridors or other storage areas can free up classroom space while still keeping your resources in a tidy order.
Another solution for eliminating classroom clutter comes in the form of display cabinets. Storing books or learning apparatus in a wall mounted cabinet gives you the freedom to showcase your tools, whilst maximising space in the room.
Another important element of furniture design is personalisation. Allowing the children to put their stamp on things such as coat pegs, named drawers and lockers, can give them a sense of responsibility and ownership for their learning environment, positively impacting on the pupil’s frame of mind.
To encourage students to be proud of their work, or to showcase learning materials, you can install display boards around the room. These presentation cases not only bring colour to a space, it gives students an incentive for creating beautiful work, and allows the teacher to remind the class of important rules or information.
Finally, it’s important to ensure all chairs and desks are comfortable, suitable for the pupils’ ages and sizes and that they engage the children.
Creating different learning zones around a classroom space can improve learning for pupils of all ages. Younger children who spend their time taking part in play-based learning can benefit from a room that’s broken into several different areas, with a different stimulation featuring in each zone. A handy way to create these zones would be to implement partition screens. You can separate areas of a classroom without isolating any corners, and you can also display work and information on the screens. Older pupils require fewer learning areas, but separating a classroom into zones can support group work.
Pupils can also benefit from a break out area. Similar to a playground, this indoor zone helps the pupil’s to understand that while they’re in the break out area, school work is paused and they are free to conduct their own play. Once they leave the break out zone, learning resumes and pupils are expected to give their full attention to their next lesson.
So as we can see, making sure your classroom is user friendly, includes visual stimulation and features as much natural light as possible can have a dramatic effect on your pupil’s learning. If you think your classroom is lacking colour or your furniture could use improvement, use the Salford University Study to get handy tips on upgrading your learning space.
Founded in 1973, Metroplan Limited is a UK based manufacturer and supplier of Display, Presentation and Furniture products. As creators of the One Stop Presentations® range of products, Metroplan offer the UK’s widest range of Display and Presentation products from a single source.
Products include a wide selection of noticeboards, whiteboards, flipchart easels, poster frames, signage display, panel display systems, literature display, office partitioning, meeting room furniture, educational storage furniture, audio visual furniture and the UK’s widest range of portable and mounted projection screens.
Metroplan products are available through a wide network of resellers. We supply products across both public and private sectors, into education, local government, audio visual, health, office, corporate, home and hospitality markets in the UK and abroad.
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